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Aussie equivalents for European and American fish


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Most of us have had this problem. We've got our cool new cookbook from Europe or America. There is a stunning fish recipe we'd like to try. We have all the ingredients except for one....the fish.

So, what Australian fish can we substitute for our European and American counterparts?

Here's a few for starters:

Plaice.

Sole.

Haddock.

Cod.

Herring.

If you've got suggestions and other fish and their substitutes, please let us know.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Shin,

As a guide I'd tell you

Plaice and Sole are delicate, white-fleshed fish

Haddock and Cod are fleshier and can stand up to a soup or chowder and

Herring is an oily fish, like Mackerel, I like both smoked.

If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

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We get some Australian fish here in New York, so I've had the chance to taste a couple of examples (John Dory and Barramundi) repeatedly, and I've had some in Canada (ling) and some in Singapore (several species). Based on that limited exposure I'd say any recipe that calls for sole would work quite well with John Dory and for the meatier ones like Atlantic cod I'd suggest Barramundi (for so-called black cod, ling should work nicely as a substitute). I wouldn't stress about it too much. In real restaurant kitchens, even at the high end, they make some pretty broad fish substitutions. Most recipes can tolerate changes among white-fleshed fish. You run into trouble primarily when you switch between major categories, like you try to substitute tuna for cod -- that's not going to work particularly well in most cases!

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Most of us have had this problem.  We've got our cool new cookbook from Europe or America.  There is a stunning fish recipe we'd like to try.  We have all the ingredients except for one....the fish.

So, what Australian fish can we substitute for our European and American counterparts?

Here's a few for starters:

Plaice.

Sole.

Haddock.

Cod.

Herring.

If you've got suggestions and other fish and their substitutes, please let us know.

Australian waters have fantastic fish of it's own (the selection is better then in the UK also), but substitution is always a problem.

Sole (as in Dover Sole (Solea solea)). There is no substitution for this fish in terms of flavour, but one if the Dorys (there are several in Australian waters) is close in firmness, if not in overall structure. Many of the sole recipes are using the fish for the shape/engineering aspects of the fillet and that can't be substituted.

Plaice - have never eaten it.

Cod/Haddock - use a large flaked white fish for the Cod (Blue Eye etc), for haddock rockling or flaqthead tails are fine.

Herring, think of a larger more robust sardine. Australian sardines are smaller, but can be substituted for flavour or try another oily fish lik some of the mackerals.

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I think flounder can be used in place of plaice :biggrin:

Must be the jetlag...

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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There's a terrific fish & chips place in London called Rock & Sole Plaice.

Adam, I agree that there's no true substitute for Dover sole in a real Dover sole recipe, such as a La Meuniere. But really, how often do you see such a recipe in a cookbook these days or in the past couple of decades? In most cases, the contemporary sole recipes you see can work just fine with John Dory. Most people don't even mean Dover sole when they say sole these days. They mean flounder.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Adam, I agree that there's no true substitute for Dover sole in a real Dover sole recipe, such as a La Meuniere. But really, how often do you see such a recipe in a cookbook these days or in the past couple of decades? In most cases, the contemporary sole recipes you see can work just fine with John Dory. Most people don't even mean Dover sole when they say sole these days. They mean flounder.

Yes I compared the two fish directly a few months ago on this thread and came to the conclusion that texture was similar, although the flavour and structure of the fillets was different. Both stellar fish though, and I would be happy to replace Sole with Dory. In some dishes this may not be possible as you need the structure of the sole fillet (terrines etc), but will most likely not be an issue in the majority of cases.

In the states the FDA approved fish marketed as "Dover Sole" is Microstomus pacificus, which is a West coast flounder (also know as a slime sole), but I was unther the impression that decent restaurants that sold "Dover Sole" were actually refering to imported Solea solea. What's your impression on this? I'm curious as the East Atlantic fish is one of the great fish on the world, whereas the flounder is not thought to be so great.

For Shinboners - In Australian waters there are a few species of flounder, don't substitue these for Sole as the are really quite nasty, unless you like the taste of mud.

Edited by Adam Balic (log)
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Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and advice. It's also good to hear that people rate Australian fish as being pretty good too.

For Shinboners - In Australian waters there are a few species of flounder, don't substitue these for Sole as the are really quite nasty, unless you like the taste of mud.

I don't eat much flounder these days as my parents cooked it quite often when I was a kid.

We get some Australian fish here in New York, so I've had the chance to taste a couple of examples (John Dory and Barramundi) repeatedly,

Do you know if the barramundi you had was farmed or wild?

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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I beg to differ on the flounder to mud taste comparison.

As a keen fisherman, I believe it's got to do somewhat with where you catch the flounder. For example, a flounder caught in Manly... yecchhh... however, one caught in Brighton or Mornington in Melbourne, totally different story.

It's an environmental issue.

I will however, vouch for the John Dory as a terrific all-rounder.

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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Just want to second Adam's suggestion of mackerel as a good sub for herring. Herring has quite a strong and distinctive taste, and while big sardines work, I think they have softer flesh than herrings.

However, I sometimes wonder if you have to grow up on herring to love it. They're sold brined, dried and run over by trucks here in Japan, and I hate every last one of 'em!

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However, I sometimes wonder if you have to grow up on herring to love it. They're sold brined, dried and run over by trucks here in Japan, and I hate every last one of 'em!

If memory serves me correctly, I believe this was once an Iron Chef "Secret Ingredient"?

SB (then again, maybe I'm thinking of the Norski Chef "Lutefisk Battle"?) :rolleyes:

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